Ryan Blaney is an extremely talented young driver. Last year he had a breakout season, in 2018 the good times should continue. This upcoming season he’ll fully be under the Penske Racing umbrella and will be driving the #12. I think this transition should make him slightly more competitive, even though in theory the situation is exactly the same as last year, even his crew chief is making the move with him.
Strengths – Ryan Blaney is a really well rounded driver on all the different track types. In 2018 I would look for him to be at his best at intermediate tracks where he’ll compete for a few wins this season.
Weaknesses – Ryan Blaney has never been the poster boy for consistency. Last year he didn’t have back to back top tens until late October.
Track Type Fantasy Value Key = Elite > High > Medium-High > Medium > Low
Intermediate Track Fantasy Value – Elite
Ryan Blaney is a very strong performer at intermediate tracks. In terms of track types I view this as his best. If you’re in an allocation league make sure you focus on picking him at these venues. In 2018 on this track type I think he’ll be an elite level talent. He’ll now fully be under the Penske Racing umbrella and when you add “natural improvement” into the mix I think it’s clear he should be really good.
In 2017 at intermediate tracks Blaney scored the 10th most points, finished in the top five 41% percent of the time and in the top ten 59% percent of the time. In a few races last year on this track type he was a serious contender to win. Inexperience cost him on a few occasions but now that he’s more seasoned he shouldn’t make those mistakes again.
In 2018 on this track type I would look for Ryan Blaney to be really competitive, I think he should challenge for a top ten every week and compete for a few wins.
Flat Track Fantasy Value – High
Ryan Blaney is a very capable performer at both the bigger flat tracks and the smaller flat tracks. In 2018 he should run well at both sub-track types. Performance wise this upcoming season I would look for him to compete for a top ten every race.
At the smaller flat tracks, Phoenix and New Hampshire both rank in his top seven tracks among the 24 on the circuit. At Richmond, which double dips with “Short Tracks” he has some work to do because he hasn’t been successful there.
Last year on this track type at Pocono, Ryan Blaney raced his way to victory lane and got his first, and only career win. In the other two races at big flat tracks he didn’t fare well.
Short Track Fantasy Value – High
Ryan Blaney is a really strong short track driver. He’s a good option at Bristol and Martinsville. At Richmond he needs to show improvement but I think he should be better this upcoming season.
At Martinsville last year Blaney was strong in both races. He finished 8th in the fall, and was top ten good in the spring but walked away with a misleading 25th place finish. At Bristol he finished 10th in the summer event and ran well in the spring until he had trouble. Richmond hasn’t been a good track to him on paper and his average finish is 30.3. If you feel like rolling the dice I think that should definitely give him some out of sync potential.
Restrictor Plate Track Fantasy Value – High
Don’t count out Ryan Blaney at plate tracks. He’s a very capable performer at these venues and he’s had some strong runs at both tracks. Last year on this track type he finished 2nd in the Daytona 500, but crashed in the other three races. Surprisingly he still managed to score the 10th most points. In 2016 he scored the 9th most points.
In 2018 at both tracks I would look for him to compete for a top ten as long as he avoids trouble. In recent seasons at plate tracks Penske Racing has fielded arguably the best cars so you know Blaney will be in good equipment.
Road Course Track Fantasy Value – High
In 2018 I’m setting the bar high for Ryan Blaney and projecting him as a “High Level Talent” at road courses. Last year on this track type Blaney was a strong performer. He scored the 2nd most points, had an 8.5 average result and was one of five drivers who finished in the top ten both races. He finished 8th at Watkins Glen and 9th at Sonoma.
In 2018 between the three road courses I would look for Blaney to be a low-double digits driver who has a great chance of finishing in the top ten.